February 12th, 2016

Berger Southwest Nationals — Team Day

Berger SWN 2016 Team

Thursday was a Team Competition day at the Berger Southwest Nationals. Conditions were surprisingly calm for most of the day, with flags hanging straight down through most of the morning. But there were still some “ghost winds” that might affect one flag (and cause some unexplained). Mirage was also tricky for some shooters as the day wore on.

Watch Day 2 Match Highlights including Interview With Team Michigan’s Bill Litz and Bryan Litz

Team Michigan won the F-TR competition, followed by The U.S. F-TR Team in second, and Team X-Men in third. Based on the interim results posted, the Sling Division was one by the UK/Scottish Ethnic Fringe Team led by Captain Angus McLeod. It appears that the top F-Open Squad was Team Berger — those senior guys still know their stuff.

berger SW Nationals team berger

USRT Gold Medal Sponsors Kelly McMillan of McMillan Group International and Sean Murphy of Nightforce Optics came out to observe and shoot with the U.S. Rifle Team. Here’s Kelly with his bionic arm.

berger sw nationals kelly mcmillan

It was hot, dry, and sunny in Phoenix. You needed lots of water and plenty of sunscreen…

berger sw nationals

There was plenty of good food on hand for the competitors…

bergnat1105

Here’s an interesting rig that combines a spotting scope (on left) with 15×56 binoculars (on right) This allowed the spotter to watch targets as well as mirage elsewhere on the range. Smart…

berger sw nationals

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February 12th, 2016

Erik Cortina Reviews Forster Co-Ax Press

eric cortina forster co-ax

We met with our friend Erik Cortina at the Berger Southwest Nationals this week. Erik (shown above), had a beautiful new F-Open rifle to show us. This features a new, large-diameter Borden action and a Shurley Brothers fancy maple stock. Erik loves great hardware — whether it comes to actions, stocks, or reloading equipment. One of Erik’s favorite reloading tools is his Forster Co-Ax press.

Co-ax Forster press

Cortina has produced a series of YouTube videos about reloading hardware and precision hand-loading. Here is Erik’s video review of the Forster Co-Ax® reloading press. The Co-Ax is unique in both design and operation. It features dual guide rods and a central handle. You don’t screw in dies — you slide the die lock ring into a slot. This allows dies to float during operation.

Erik does a good job of demonstrating the Co-Ax’s unique features. At 1:00 he shows how to slide the dies into the press. It’s slick and easy. At the two-minute mark, Erik shows how sliding jaws clasp the case rim (rather than a conventional shell-holder). The jaws close as the ram is raised, then open as it is lowered. This makes it easy to place and remove your cases.

At the 5:20 mark, Erik shows how spent primers run straight down into a capture cup. This smart system helps keep your press and bench area clean of primer debris and residues.

While many Co-Ax users prime their cases by hand, the Co-Ax can prime cases very reliably. The priming station is on top of the press. Erik demonstrates the priming operation starting at 4:20.

Co-ax Forster press

Smart Accessories for the Co-Ax from Inline Fabrications
Lapua’s Kevin Thomas also owns a Co-Ax press, which he has hot-rodded with accessories from Inline Fabrications. Kevin tells us: “Check out the add-ons available from Inline Fabrications for the Co-Ax. I recently picked up a riser mount and a set of linkages for mine and love the results. The linkages are curved. When you replace the original straight links with these, the work area opens up substantially and the the press becomes much easier to feed.” CLICK HERE for Co-Ax Accessories.

Inline Fabrications Forster Co-Ax Accessories

Forster Co-Ax Curved Side Linkage
(For Better Access)

CLICK HERE

Forster Co-Ax Ultramount
(Riser plus Bin Support)

CLICK HERE

Co-Ax Roller Lever (Short)

CLICK HERE

Dual LED Lighting Kit for Co-Ax

CLICK HERE

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February 12th, 2016

Getting Started in F-Class Competition (F-TR and F-Open)

Vince Bottomley Target Shooter F-Class F-Open F-TR

Our friend Vince Bottomley in the UK has written an excellent article for Target Shooter Magazine. Vince offers “solid-gold” advice for new F-TR and F-Open shooters. Vince reviews the cartridge options, and offers suggestions for a shooter’s first (and hopefully affordable) F-Class rifle. Vince also reviews various bipod choices for F-TR and discusses optics options (from $300 to $3000).

Here’s a short sample from the Target Shooter Magazine article:

Read the rest of this entry »

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February 11th, 2016

Dear Daddy — You Are the Best…

DEAR DADDY. We all draw positive motivation from different sources. This competitor at the Berger SW Nationals gets a lift from his child’s hand-written note: “Dear Daddy, I love you very much. I hope you win the competition. You are the best….”

deardad01

The Berger SWN competition began in earnest yesterday, with hundreds of shooters taking to the line. Today, it’s more of the same, with the nation’s top F-TR, F-Open, and Sling Shooters competing at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix.

Berger SWN

Photos by Stephen Fiorenzo and Phil Kelley.

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February 11th, 2016

Three National Champions Reveal How to Read the Wind

Blast from the Past: As we get set up in Phoenix for the 2016 Berger Southwest Nationals, we thought we’d revisit one of our more interesting features from a few years back. At the 2010 SHOT Show, we had the unique opportunity to corner three “superstars” of High Power shooting, and solicit their wind-reading secrets. Carl Bernosky, David Tubb, and John Whidden all shared some championship-caliber wind wisdom in video interviews. If you shoot competitively, you’ll want to watch these videos. David’s video is worth watching twice because some of the key points he makes go by pretty quickly.

In the three videos below (in alphabetical order), Carl Bernosky (10-Time Nat’l High Power Champion), David Tubb (11-time Nat’l High Power Champion and 7-time Nat’l Long-Range Champion), and John Whidden (2-Time Nat’l High Power Long-Range Champion) shared some of the wind-doping strategies that have carried them to victory in the nation’s most competitive shooting matches. This is GOLD folks… no matter what your discipline — be it short-range Benchrest or Long-Range High Power — watch these videos for valuable insights that can help you shoot more accurately, and post higher scores, in all wind conditions.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

We were very fortunate to have these three extraordinarily gifted champions reveal their “winning ways”. These guys REALLY know their stuff. I thought to myself: “Wow, this is how a baseball fan might feel if he could assemble Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams in the same room, and have them each reveal their hitting secrets.” Editor’s Note: These interviews were conducted before Bernosky and Tubb won their most recent National Championships.

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February 11th, 2016

Lube Choices for Case Sizing — Reviewing the Options

Cartridge Case lubrication imperial Die wax case sizing reloading

Sinclair International has a good article on Case Lubrication which shows the various products and application methods available. Part of Sinclair’s Step-By-Step Reloading series, the article shows how to apply Spray Lube, Die Wax, or conventional lube from a Pad. The story also explains how to use dry lube to slick up the inside of your case necks.

Spray Lubes
High-volume reloaders often turn to spray-on lubricants such as the RCBS Case Slick (#749-001-341) or the Hornady One Shot (#749-001-065) to quickly lubricate large numbers of cases at once. An indispensable piece of gear that helps make spray lubing easy is a lube rack (#749-011-550) — a polymer block that holds cases upright and arranged to maximize their exposure to the spray.

Hornady spray cartridge case Lube

Editor’s Note: Ballistol Aerosol is other good spray product for regular full-length sizing (not heavy case-forming). It goes on clear (no chalky residue), it is ultra-slippery, and it will remove the carbon from your case necks as you apply Ballistol with a patch. This is my primary spray lube — but many folks dislike the distinctive Ballistol smell. Try before you buy.

diewax1601Sizing Die Wax
Over the years, many benchrest shooters have come to trust Imperial Sizing Die Wax (#749-001-052) for their case lube needs. It offers high lubricity and easily wipes off with a paper towel. In fact, its lubricity makes it a popular choice for case forming, for those wildcat folks who need to form their own unique or obsolete cartridges. Unlike lube pads or spray lubes, sizing wax is applied more naturally. You just put a little on your fingers and transfer it to the cases by handling them. As simple and easy as Imperial Sizing Die Wax is to use, it’s probably best for low-volume applications.

Dry Lubricant
Redding’s Imperial Application Media (#749-001-166) is a dry neck lube used to lube the inside of the neck, whether you’re full-length sizing or neck-sizing only. It consists of ceramic spheres coated with a fine graphite-based powder. You simply dip the neck into the container for a second to pick up the right amount of lube. This lube enables the expander ball to work smoothly throughout the case neck –instead of “grabbing” or “chattering” — to minimize case neck stretching.

Cartridge Case lubrication imperisal Die wax case sizing reloading

Editor’s Note: Dry Lube is also very useful if you ultrasonically clean your cases. After the ultrasound process, the inside of the case neck can be so “squeaky clean” that bullets don’t seat smoothly. A quick application of dry lube will help bullets slide into the neck easier and the neck “grip” on the bullets should be more consistent from round-to-round. Consistent neck tension is key to accuracy and uniform velocities.

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
February 10th, 2016

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Commence in Arizona

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ
Checking conditions at break of day. This week Phoenix will offer cool nights and warm days, with daytime temps in the mid- to high 80s (F).

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZThe Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), is the biggest, most prestigious long-range shooting match west of the Mississipi. The SW Nationals, which run February 9-14, 2016, kicked off on Tuesday the 9th with a shooting clinic at the Ben Avery 1000-yard Range. This gave competitors a chance to confirm their zeros, study the conditions at Ben Avery, and prep their “mental game” for the upcoming competition. This will be a huge event, with over 370 shooters from all over the USA and many foreign countries. The SW Nationals attracts top F-Class and Sling shooters, lured by the quality of the competition and a huge prize table. This is truly a “world-class” event.

Tuesday’s shooting clinic started with a class on Exterior Ballistics hosted by Bryan Litz. Following the ballistics class, shooters made their way to the firing line for one-on-one instruction with experienced shooters in each discipline (sling, F-TR and F-Open). During this segment of the clinic, champion shooters worked directly with novice and intermediate shooters. Bryan said: “It was great to see the ‘top guns’ sharing their knowledge.”

2015 Berger Southwest Nationals Clinic Applied Ballistics High Power F-Class Phoenix Ben Avery
File photo from 2015.

Nat’l Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR Champion Bryan Litz instructs during Tuesday’s Clinic at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Eliseo Tubegun with Nightforce Competition scope. These versatile rifle chassis systems are produced by Competition Machine in Cottonwood, Arizona.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Click image to see full-screen panorama.

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


View Larger Map

Photos by Steven Fiorenzo.

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February 10th, 2016

Keepin’ It Safe: Seven Tips for Reloading Safety

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. This includes keeping your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.
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February 10th, 2016

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning — How to Get Better Results

Sooner or later you’ll want to clean your rifle brass, even if you aren’t fussy about appearance. You can tumble your cases in a vibratory tumbler with dry media, but that can leave cases with a fine layer of dust, or worse yet, clogged flash holes. As an alternative to tumbling, many shooters are experimenting with ultrasonic case cleaning. Here are three tips to achieve the best results when using ultra-sound to clean your brass:

Try a Commercial Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution
As a companion product to its new ultrasonic cleaning tank, Hornady is selling a citric-acid based One Shot™ Sonic Clean™ Solution, that is claimed to speed up cleaning times, and not leave your brass an odd pinkish color like some “home-brew” solutions. We’ve heard good reports about the One-Shot Solution (cartridge case formula) as well as Citranox®. Both products are economical to use since you dilute them heavily with water. For example, Hornady recommends you mix forty (40) parts water to one part of One Shot Sonic Clean.

Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions

Forum member Dave B is a chemist/physicist with decades of experience working with the ultrasound process. Dave tried a variety of solutions and he favors a mix of water and Citranox®. Dave notes: “So far I’ve been very impressed with the Citranox. Once- or twice-fired brass clean up very quickly. The worst cases I tried were 6 Dashers that had been fired ten times with Varget and never cleaned. The worst fouling was in the bottom of the case around the flash hole. They took longer and I used a more concentrated cleaning solution but they did come out clean. The price is reasonable. I paid $35 a gallon and for once- or twice-fired cases I dilute the cleaner 100 to 1. There is much less chemical reaction with the brass than there is with vinegar. No weird colors, just shiny bright. I even used it with hot water, which speeds up the cleaning process. The cleaner is mostly detergents with a little citric acid. Even at a 1:75 ratio my $35 worth of cleaner will make 75 gallons of solution.” The price has gone up a bit since Dave acquired his Citranox, but Amazon.com sells Citranox for $48.00 per gallon.

Another good ultrasonic solution is L&R non-ammoniated Safety Cleaning Solution, sold by Brownells, item #515-000-004. Brownell’s L&R solution is non-toxic and biodegradeable. The strong surfactant in L&R solution helps penetrate the grit so the ultrasonic cavitation can carry the grime away.

De-Gas the Solvent Before Adding Brass
One of our readers, Eddy M. in Glasgow, Scotland writes: “I have read a couple of articles recently about ultrasonic cleaning of cases and not one has mentioned de-gassing the cleaning liquid before starting to clean items. As an engineer who traveled around for ten years servicing ultrasonic tanks I would like to point out that the cleaning liquid when first put into the tank has invisible dissolved air bubbles in it which will absorb ultrasonic energy until the liquid de-gasses. (Ten minutes in a powerful industrial tank — longer in a small hobby tank). You must let the tank run on its own for 20 minutes on the first use of the liquid to allow this to happen. Only after the new liquid or re-introduced liquid has been de-gassed will the tank give good results.”

moly dry lube kit NeconosApply Dry-Lube Inside Case Necks
Jason Baney has found that Ultrasonic cleaning leaves the inside of the case-necks so “squeaky clean” that there is excess friction when seating bullets. On a fired case that has been cleaned conventionally (no ultra-sound), a thin layer of carbon remains to lubricate the bullet entry and exit. To restore that lubricity in cases cleaned with ultrasound, Jason applies a dry lube to the inside of his case necks. Jason prefers the $10.95 moly dry lube kit from Neconos.com. With this kit, small carbon steel balls transfer moly to the neck when you place your brass nose-down in the container.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
February 9th, 2016

Mental Game — Thinking Your Way to Success

praslick emil usamu mental training game marksmanship

SFC Emil Praslick III is now retired from the U.S. Army, but he left a great legacy as one of the USAMU’s greatest coaches and team leaders. A highly-respected wind expert, Praslick also was known for his ability to help his shooters master the “mental game”, which is so important at the highest levels of competition. Here is an article from the CMP Archives in which Praslick explains how to focus your mind to achieve greater success.

Thinking Your Way to Success by SFC Emil Praslick III (Ret.)
Why does it seem that the same small group of shooters wins the majority of the matches? Within the Army Marksmanship Unit’s Service Rifle Team, the same effect applies. On a team filled with uncommonly talented shooters, the same two or three are consistently at the top of the final results bulletin. What is the difference among shooters who are technically equal? Confidence. A confident shooter is free to execute his shots without the fear of failure, i.e. shooting a poor shot.

Negative thoughts (can’t, won’t be able to, etc.) will destroy a skilled performance. The mind’s focus will not be on executing the task, but on projecting fear and self-doubt. Fear is the enemy, confidence is the cure.

How does a shooter on the eve of an important match (the President’s or NTI, for example) attain the confidence needed to perform up to his potential? A pre-competition mental plan can assist in acquiring that positive mental state. The plan can be broken down into a few phases.

Build a feeling of preparedness. Developing and executing a plan to organize your equipment and pre-match routine will aid you in feeling prepared on match day.

Avoid negative and stressful thoughts. Focusing on “winning” the match or shooting for a specific score (like making the “cut” or making the President’s 100) can cause undue stress. Good shooters focus on aspects that are within their control: their sight picture, their sight alignment, their position. Each shot should be treated as an individual event.

Train stage-specific tasks during your practice sessions. Instead of shooting matches or practice matches only, include some drills that focus on your problem areas. Training in this manner will assist your level of confidence.

As part of your pre-match routine, imagine yourself shooting perfect shots. Visualize getting into the perfect position, acquiring a perfect sight picture, and perfect trigger control.

Let a feeling of calm and well-being wash over you. Spend a few minutes alone thinking positive thoughts. Many shooters use their favorite music to help build the mood.

Once you develop your pre-competition mental plan, stick with it. Through your training you will develop the physical skills to shoot higher scores. The confidence you will need to apply them in match conditions will grow as you develop into a complete shooter; both physically and mentally.

The USAMU’s article archives are a great resource for competitive shooters. Click HERE for more excellent instructional articles by Emil Praslick and other USAMU Coaches and shooters. You’ll find articles on Wind-Reading, Fitness, Equipment, Shooting Positions, Shooting Techniques, Match Strategies and much more.

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
February 9th, 2016

More Beam Scale Tips from Scott Parker


A wind box enables you to use a beam scale for loading at the range, or any location without electrical power. Boyd Allen photo.

We recently ran a Bulletin story about tuning beam scales for repeatability and accuracy. That article featured scales tuned by Forum member Scott Parker (aka SParker). Being a chemist, Scott knows something about precision balances. Scott offers “tuned” balance-beam scales. These are affordable and provide great precision when used properly. Here are some of Scott’s tips for use of classic balance beam scales such as the RCBS 10-10. This tips come from a recent thread in our Shooters’ Forum.

Beam Scale Basics — By Scott Parker
The beam scales that I supply [and tune] are not new. They have been around since the 1960s. While there is certainly no high-tech element to them, they have stood the test of time. As they are analog instruments, they require a higher level of acumen to use. They are elegant in their simplicity. They are quite sensitive, so drafts need to be avoided. (taken care of with a simple box) The way one uses a beam scale effectively for weighing powder charges is described below.

Recommended Method for Using a Beam Scale:
1. Zero the scale and test.
2. Set the scale to read the desired charge weight.
3. Adjust powder thrower ( I like the Lee) to throw half a grain light.
4. Trickle up the remainder of the charge until the pointer line is level with the zero line on the scale body.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.

I use an Omega automatic powder trickler from Dandy Products. This uses a photo sensor and a light source positioned in a bar that saddles the scale beam. When the beam interrupts the light path, the circuit shuts off and trickling stops. This takes approximately eight (8) seconds. In that time, I am seating a bullet in the previous case.

Omega Auto Powder Trickler from Dandy Products:

A wooden base can be easily constructed which will add considerable stability to the position of the scale. Think: small plank with two dowel pins and a hole for the leveling foot for an Ohaus scale, or two slots and a hole for a Redding (see photo below). I have yet to find this necessary however. That said, I imagine that beam scales get bumped more often than digital scales simply due to our perceptions. We imagine that digital scales are sensitive pieces of equipment that use delicate electronics so we are very careful around them. Whereas we recognize beam scales to be mechanically robust and do not exercise the same care with them.

beam scale wood platform Scott Parker

In my background as a chemist, I have used many types of scales, mechanical, digital and hybrids. I could use any scale that I desired to weigh my powder charges. I use a beam scale that I have calibrated and tuned. I receive several calls each month from shooters ready to take a hammer to their digital scales. I am happy to end their suffering.

Scott Parker
Bakersfield, CA
VLD223 [at] yahoo.com
(661) 364-1199

Satisfied “Parkerized” Scale User
Forum member Jim Hardy says that Scott does great work and his modified beam scales perform well: “Scott Parker’s modified scales show more precision than any digital scale I have owned. Scott is not only a great prone shooter but a great man with whom do business. Even if you have a great digital scale, you need the Parker modification when ‘stuff’ goes wrong. A ‘no brainer’ for the serious shooter.”

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
February 9th, 2016

Giraud 3-Way Trimmer Works with a Power Drill

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool
Close-up of the Tri Way cutter with clear plastic chip guard removed.

When you hear the name Giraud Tool you probably think of big, heavy, bench-top motor-driven trimmers. Well Giraud also offers a handy case trimmer/chamferer that works with a power drill (or other power source). Giraud’s patent-pending Tri Way Case Trimmer is a self-contained unit powered by your drill or motor. Using a sharp carbide blade it will trim your cases to length, deburr, and cut both inside and outside chamfers — all in one pass. That’s pretty impressive for a $98.00 tool that fits in the palm of your hand.

Product Features
1. Fully adjustable for cartridge length (and depth of chamfer).
2. Tool includes carbide blade that cuts a 15° inside case mouth chamfer and 45° outside chamfer.
3. Case holder supported by sealed ball bearing raceway.
4. Tool includes removable, transparent plastic chip guard.
5. Tool can work in any orientation (vertical, horizontal, or any angle).

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool

The Giraud Tri Way Trimmer is designed to be powered by a portable hand drill, drill press, or other dedicated rotating power source. The tool indexes off the shoulder of your cases, but the blade adjusts so that cartridge overall length (COAL) can be controlled with precision. Constructed out of 6061-T6 aluminum and 303 stainless steel, the Tri Way tool should last a lifetime. Note: This tool is not universal. The Tri Way is dedicated to a single cartridge and “related” cartridges with similar body dimensions. Thus you need a specific tool for each cartridge family. For example, the .308 Win tool will also trim .243 Win, .260 Rem, and 7mm-08.

Cartridge Sizes Available for Giraud Tri Way Trimmer:
.223 Remington (Also trims .17 Remington, .204 Ruger, .222 Remington, .222 Remington Magnum)
7.62 x 39mm (Russian)
.300 Blackout (Also trims .17 Rem Fireball, .221 Fireball)
.308 Winchester (Also trims .243 Winchester, .260 Remington, 7mm-08)
.30-06 Springfield (Also trims .25-06, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington)
.300 Winchester Mag (Also trims .264 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum)

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review 2 Comments »
February 8th, 2016

Bargain Finder 21: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Amazon — Vortex 4-12x50mm AO Scope, $199.00

Vortex Scope AR Mid-range Prone match 4-12x50mm AO Crossfire

The NRA is introducing a new Mid-Range Tactical Prone Match for AR platform rifles with bipods. Optics up to 12X will be allowed. If you’re considering participating in this new Mid-Range competition, here’s a fine Vortex 4-12x50mm AO Crossfire II scope for under $200.00. This second-focal-plane scope features front parallax adjustment and a BDC reticle. Put the money you save on optics into a premium barrel and quality match trigger.

2. Stocky’s Stocks — Composite Stock with Bedding Block

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

Here’s a killer deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $199.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with a matte black, tan, or olive baked-on textured finish for $229.97.

3. Grafs.com — Magnetospeed Sporter $179.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

If you have been waiting to get a Magnetospeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetspeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily from the display module to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.

4. Gander Mountain — 325 Rounds of .22 LR for $24.99

Federal .22 LR Rimfire Ammo Bulk Discount

We’ve featured this Federal AutoMatch .22 LR Ammo before, and this week it’s available from Gander Mountain. The $24.99 price works out to just 7.7 cents per round. This ammo is well-suited for plinking and general training in rimfire pistols and rifles, both bolt-action and semi-automatic.

5. Amazon — Best-Selling Digital Calipers, $13.65

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With 1,500+ customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $13.65, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

6. Cope’s Distributing — Ruger 10/22 Marine Take-Down Kit

Ruger 10/22 Takedown Take-down Marine kit

We like this special Ruger 10/22 Marine Take-Down Rifle Kit. It features a stainless barrel and action, and extended magazine. All the parts fit securely in a special molded hard case. If you’re look for a compact, durable, easy-to-transport rimfire rifle, this special edition Take-Down 10/22 could be exactly what you need. The complete kit sells for $340.99 at Cope’s Distributing.

7. Home Depot — 72″ Wood Workbench for $70.25

Folding Wood Work Bench Home Deport Reloading

This patented Home Depot workbench assembles in a few minutes. Simply unfold the legs, pop in the shelf, and you are ready to start your project. Made from Premium 2×4 Hemlock fastened with glue and screws, this workbench is a great value. The bench (72″ wide x 35″ high x 22″ deep) can easily be stored when not in use. NOTE: The wood is unfinished (can be painted or stained).

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February 8th, 2016

New CMP Legacy Series Events Added to 2016 National Matches

CMP Camp Perry Legacy Series National Matches Ohio

Old is new again. After receiving many suggestions on how best to fill the recently-added week at the end of the National Matches in August, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has created the “CMP Legacy Series”. To be conducted during the final week of competition at Camp Perry, the Legacy Series will include the following matches:

  • CMP Heritage Match (Aug. 10) – 800 Aggregate event, 20 shots standing and 20 shots sitting at the 200-yard line, 20 shots rapid fire at the 300-yard line and 20 shots prone slow fire at the 600-yard line.
  • CMP Viale Memorial Match (Aug. 11) – 50-shot National Match Course of Fire
  • CMP Critchfield 2-Man Team Match (Aug. 12) – 50-shot National Match Course of Fire.
  • CMP Modern Military Rifle Match (Aug. 13) – 55-shot match fired at the 200-yard line.
  • CMP Roosevelt Commemorative Match (Aug. 14) – 30-shot Krag/m1903 match fired at the 200-yard line.

The theme “Legacy Series” was chosen to honor Camp Perry and those individuals who have helped shape the nation’s longest-running series of championship and recreational rifle events in America. The schedule above was chosen by the overwhelming majority of CMP competitors surveyed. Of the 1,595 responses, 1,051 selected the CMP Legacy Series to conclude the 2016 National Matches.

CLICK HERE for Complete 2016 National Match Calendar

The CMP Heritage Match is typical of the National Match Course service rifle events fired at Camp Perry for more than 100 years. The CMP Viale Memorial Match celebrates the memory of 2nd Lt. Robert M. Viale, KIA, namesake of Camp Perry’s 1,000-yard range. The CMP Critchfield 2-Man Team match is named in honor of Ammon B. Critchfield, Adjutant General of Ohio and founder of Camp Perry, the largest rifle range in the nation.

Camp Perry legacy Series

Critchfield would also be pleased to see those 1903 Springfields in action more than a century later on his range at the CMP Roosevelt Commemorative Match, open only to the Springfield and its predecessor, the Krag-Jorgensen rifle.

The CMP Modern Military Rifle Match showcases modern, semi-automatic military style rifles like the non-accurized M14/M1A, the original lightweight AR15 and many foreign military semi-autos and commercial equivalents.

If you have questions regarding the CMP Legacy Series, contact Christina Roguski at croguski @ thecmp.org, Shannon Hand at shand @ thecmp.org or Kim Filipiak at kfilipiak @ thecmp.org.

Permalink Competition, News Post comment »
February 8th, 2016

Pursuit of the Perfect Cartridge Book by Mic McPherson

We are often asked, “Can you recommend a good reloading book that picks up where the typical reloading manual leaves off — something that goes into more detail about the processes involved.” There is such a book, and it’s fairly recent: Metallic Cartridge Handloading: Pursuit of the Perfect Cartridge, by M.L. (“Mic”) McPherson. Released in 2013, this 425-page book goes into greater depth than McPherson’s popular intro reloading guide, Metallic Cartridge Reloading. McPherson’s latest reloading treatise covers all aspects of the reloading process: the cartridge case; maintaining, improving and loading the case; the seating and reading of primers; the loading of propellant; bullets and the loading of bullets; accurate load development; internal and external ballistics; bullet making and casting; and reloading presses.

Metallic Cartridge Handloading Mic McPherson

With hundreds of photos and illustrations, this book is a good reference for shooters getting started in precision reloading for accuracy. Compared to some other books on reloading procedures, McPherson’s new resource is more up-to-date, so it references more modern reloading tools and techniques. NOTE: This is NOT a reloading manual containing specific load data. Rather, it is a how-to book that covers the process of cartridge reloading from start to finish.

Reviews by actual book buyers:
A great resource for handloaders although a little technical for beginners. I have been reloading for 40+ years and picked up some good ideas. — Loren R.

This is a book intended for people who have been reloading for a while. The book contains very detailed information about reloading. — Kaj H.

About the Author, M.L. (“Mic”) McPherson:
Mic McPherson, Technical Editor of Hand Loader’s Digest, is the author of numerous firearms resource books including Metallic Cartridge Reloading and Accurizing the Factory Rifle. He has written scores of articles for leading gun periodicals including Precision Shooting, The Accurate Rifle, Rifle Shooter, and Varmint Hunter Magazine. Mic also served as an Editor of the 8th and 9th Editions of Cartridges of the World.

Permalink New Product, Reloading Post comment »
February 7th, 2016

Tuning Balance-Beam Scales For Precision and Repeatability

Tuning Balance Beam Scale

While many folks enjoy the convenience of an electronic powder scale/dispenser such as the RCBS Chargemaster, some hand-loaders still prefer to use a traditional balance beam. Balance beam scales are simple, compact, and don’t suffer from electronic “glitches”. Moreover, even if you use a digital dispenser at home, when you’re doing load development at the range, a balance-beam scale may be more convenient. A scale doesn’t require electrical power, so you don’t need to bring battery packs or string long power cables. Just bring some kind of box to shelter your beam scale from the wind.

While designs like the RCBS 10-10 are decent performers as built, they can be made much more precise (and repeatable), by “tuning” of key parts. Forum member Scott Parker (aka SParker) optimizes a variety of popular beam scales, including the Ohaus 10-10 (USA-made model), RCBS 10-10 (USA-made model), RCBS 5-10, Lyman M5, Lyman D5, and others. You send Scott your scale, he tunes the key components, tests for precision and repeatability, and ships it back to you. The price is very affordable (under $85.00).

Scott tells us: “I have tuned several 10-10s. They all have turned out very sensitive, consistent and hold linearity like a dream. If only they came that way from the factory. The sensitivity after tuning is such that one kernel of powder registers a poise beam deflection. For repeatability, I remove the pan and replace it for the zero 10 times. The zero line and the poise beam balance line must coincide for each of those 10 tries. I then set the poises to read 250.0 grains. I remove and replace the pan 10 times with the calibration weight. For linearity, the poise beam balance line and the zero line should coincide within the line width. This is roughly one half a kernel of powder. For repeatability, the poise beam balance line must return to that same balance point ten times. I then adjust the poises back to zero and recheck the zero. I have a master’s degree in chemistry, thus I am very familiar with laboratory balances. Email me at vld223 [at] yahoo.com or give me a call at (661) 364-1199.”

The video above, created by British shooter Mark (aka 1967spud), shows a 10-10 beam scale that has been “tuned” by Scott Parker. In the video, you can see that the 10-10 scale is now sensitive to one (1) kernel of powder. Mark also demonstrates the’s scale’s repeatability by lifting and replacing a pan multiple times. You can contact Mark via his website, www.1967spud.com. To enquire about balance-beam scale tuning, call Scott Parker at (661) 364-1199, or send email to: vld223 [at] Yahoo.com.

Video tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
February 7th, 2016

Aim Small and Win Big with Cabela’s Shooting Park Contest

Cabela's aim small contest target park

Cabela’s, the large sporting goods enterprise, is sponsoring a six-month sweepstakes with some serious prizes. To enter, you shoot a target, take a photo of the target, and upload the photo with your entry info. For the next six months, February through July, there will be prize drawings each month. Monthly prizes will include firearms, NRA Life Memberships, ammo, shooting accessories and more. For example, this month (February), Cabela’s will give away a new Savage A17 Rifle and 200 rounds of 17 HMR ammo, plus an NRA Life Membership. Next month, the awards include TWO S&W rimfire guns (both rifle and pistol), 1000 rounds of .22LR ammo, plus an NRA Life Membership.

Cabela's aim small contest target park

How to Win Prizes
To enter the contest, first shoot a Cabela’s Target, then upload a photo of the target via Twitter, Instagram, on Cabela’s Online Entry Form. You can submit a new entry each month for the February-July period. There will be different winners each month.

Photos must show an official Cabela’s Shooting Park Target to be eligible. The Cabela’s Shooting Park Target can be downloaded for free by clicking on the image at right or THIS LINK.

No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of U.S./DC who are at least 21 years of age. Void in RI and where prohibited. Sponsored by Cabela’s Marketing and Brand Management, One Cabela Drive, Sidney, NE 69160. Odds depend on number of eligible entries received. Approximate value of February prize is $2,069. For details, see Official Contest Rules.

Permalink Hot Deals, News Post comment »
February 7th, 2016

Wobbly Rings = WTF Accuracy

Reloading Rings Vu Pham Tactical

Vu Pham Rem 260Here’s a tale that should make you chuckle. This is the kind of boo-boo any shooter can make (but hopefully only once). Our friend Vu Pham from Sacramento was out testing his .260 Rem tactical rifle. Now Vu, an ace NorCal Tactical marksman, is a darn good shooter — but his first three-shot, 200-yard group looked like a shotgun pattern. Vu was puzzled to say the least. (His actual reaction, as noted on the target, was “WTF?!”)

But there was a simple explanation for the rifle’s miserable accuracy — Vu forgot to tighten the crossbolts attaching the rings to his scope rail. Consequently, his scope was moving after each shot. According to Vu, stunned disbelief followed by embarrassment happens “the moment you realized you forgot to torque your scope rings to the base after moving [the scope] the night before. [I felt like a] Freaking nooooob.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical 3 Comments »
February 6th, 2016

Barrel-Making: How Ruger Crafts Hammer-Forged Barrels

Ruger Firearms Barrel Making Hammer Forging
This image shows a barrel in the process of hammer forging. Watch this operation starting at 1:15 in the video linked below.

You have probably heard the term “hammer-forged barrel”. But do you know how the cold hammer-forging process works? In this interesting video from Ruger, you can see the full barrel making process, including cold hammer-forging on a massive machine. Watch long rods of steel barrel material get cut to length, then drilled. After that Ruger uses CNC machines to contour the barrels before hammer forging.

Anyone with an interest in barrel-making should watch this video:

As the barrel is cold hammer-forged, a giant machine literally pounds the barrel from all sides around an internal carbide mandrel, which forms the rifling inside the bore. The actual hammer-forging is illustrated starting at 1:15 in this video. Through the process of cold-working the barrel around the mandrel, the barrel ends up with a longer length, a smaller outside diameter, and a higher hardness.

Ruger Firearms Barrel Making Hammer Forging
Before hammer forging, the barrels are deep-hole drilled, four at a time, with a bit that is slightly larger diameter than the caliber planned for the barrel.

Ruger Firearms Barrel Making Hammer Forging
Following the drilling, the barrel rod is placed in CNC machines to be turned down to the correct outside shape and size and both ends are trimmed.

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February 6th, 2016

Maryland Gun Law Ruling — ‘Strict Scrutiny’ Should Apply

Court of Appeals Maryland 4th Second Amendment

Appeals Court Remands Decision for ‘Strict Scrutiny’ of Second Amendment Issue.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned a Federal District Court decision finding the 2013 State of Maryland Firearm Safety Act (FSA) to be constitutional under “intermediate scrutiny” review. In the Case of Kolbe v. Maryland, the Appellate Court held that Maryland’s FSA should, as a matter of law, be subject to “strict scrutiny” under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Kolbe v. Maryland case was filed to challenge Maryland’s 2013 ban on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which helped challenge the Maryland law, explained that this bodes well for those seeking to nullify portions of Maryland’s 2013 FSA which imposed broad restrictions on firearms including semi-automatic rifles. The NSSF reports:

The [Appellate Court] vacated the District Court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ claims and remanded the case to the lower court, ordering that it apply the appropriate strict standard of review.

Writing for the three-judge appellate court panel that heard the case, Kolbe v. Maryland, Chief Judge William B. Traxler wrote: “In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment — ‘the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home, District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570,635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard or review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim.”

“We are greatly heartened by the Fourth Circuit panel’s ruling today,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “As this important case goes forward, NSSF will continue to work with our co-plaintiffs to ensure that our citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected and that the lawful commerce in firearms is restored in support of this constitutional protection.”

Response from NRA Institute for Legislative Action
Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in reaction to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Kolbe v. Maryland: “The Fourth Circuit’s ruling is an important victory for the Second Amendment. Maryland’s ban on commonly owned firearms and magazines clearly violates our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The highest level of judicial scrutiny should apply when governments try to restrict our Second Amendment freedoms.”

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